Anxiety considers no one! When it wants to ‘pounce’, it comes in full force and can cause us to feel helpless and frightened. Common features of anxiety that you may experience are: feeling excessively worried or nervous, easily startled, have trouble sleeping, an inability to concentrate and make decisions, irritability, headache, nausea, and other somatic symptoms, restlessness, sweating and heart palpitations. These symptoms can make daily life really difficult to navigate.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s natural reaction to a threat and our perception of that threat. For example, if there is a rustling outside at night one person may think that’s the dog and go straight back to sleep, another person may think that there is someone about to break into their house. So, exactly the same ‘stimulus’ was there, however the interpretations of the event, or perceptions, were very different. This is why anxiety can be more present and severe in one person and not an issue for another person.
So what causes anxiety? Anxiety could develop from stress at work, or school, or in personal relationships, emotional trauma, financial troubles, stress caused by chronic illness, a major event or performance, side effects of certain medications, caffeine, alcohol and/or drug use.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety
A huge amount of research has demonstrated that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is effective for dealing with anxiety long term. CBT encourages you to focus on your ‘interpretations and/or perceptions’ of a situation that has triggered your anxiety response. CBT gives us an understanding of why these feelings are there and gives you the tools to work through and resolve the anxiety response.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used by Mental Health Social Workers and Psychologists to treat anxiety. During CBT individuals experiencing anxiety are helped to develop a treatment plan to suit their lifestyle, needs, and goals. CBT helps to reshape the ‘lense’ we use to process events in our life. Here are six reasons why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is effective for kicking anxiety!
CBT allows you to look at anxiety objectively
What does that mean? It means looking at anxiety and emotional states ‘from the outside’ to see the connection between thoughts, feelings and actions, and how our interpretation influences these things.
CBT allows you to gain clarity in your thoughts
CBT teaches you how to calm your mind a feel more control in your life. CBT programs work with you to tackle your anxiety by incorporating activities such as frequent feedback, roleplaying (if that’s your thing), gradual increased exposure to things that trigger anxiety, homework assignments and journaling.
CBT teaches self-awareness and instils a willingness to maintain it
CBT helps you to develop skills to distinguish between facts and opinions. Sometimes our mind can trick us into believing irrational thoughts as fact. You will learn tools that allow you to challenge thoughts and assumptions, and focus on the reality of how things are rather than how they ‘should’ be. This teaches us to become better at analysing and understanding instead of judging how we ‘should have’ reacted.
CBT allows to you to develop problem solving skills
CBT teaches you how to consider, evaluate, and change unhelpful perceptions for better mental health wellbeing. However this requires learning and applying, and that requires work on your part. Unfortunately, there is no magic fairy dust or quick fixes. The tools developed help you to deal with situations that would usually trigger anxiety or negative emotions.
CBT helps you maintain calm and meaningful social interactions
CBT equips you to understand why others react in certain way. We are not all the same and respond differently, however you may notice the ‘lense’ they are using to perceive events in their life, giving you more understanding of their reactions to triggering events or situations.
CBT promotes mental and physical wellbeing
When you learn and apply your CBT skills life will become much less stressful. And, if stressful events come up you will manage them with newfound calmness and clarity until they pass. “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”
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